Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki clinched her maiden Grand Slam title and became the new women’s world number one as she beat Simona Halep of Romania in a thrilling women’s singles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Wozniacki, seeded second, battled to a 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 victory in a pulsating contest on the Rod Laver Arena.
The 27-year-old will replace Halep as the world number one when the latest rankings are published on Monday (January 29).
Wozniacki first reached a Grand Slam final at the 2009 US Open, where she lost to Belgium’s Kim Clijsters.
She had endured an agonizing wait to claim one of tennis’ four main prizes but that record came to an end today in dramatic fashion in Melbourne.
The Dane has the added bonus of returning to the summit of the rankings six years after she last held the position.
“I dreamt of this moment for so many years, and to be here today is a dream come true,” Wozniacki, the first Danish player to win a Grand Slam, said.
“It was an incredible match, an incredible fight.
“I’m sorry I had to win Simona.
“I was a nervous wreck this morning I wanted to win so badly.”
The final, played in temperatures of over 30 degrees, began with Wozniacki in the ascendancy as she raced into a 4-1 lead.
Halep, herself chasing a first Grand Slam crown, fought back to level and take the opening set to a tie-break.
Wozniacki regrouped, though, and had one hand on the trophy when she won the first set.
The Romanian then leveled by taking the second and broke the Wozniacki serve early in the decider.
It proved to be a common theme throughout as both players struggled to hold.
Having taken a 5-4 lead, Wozniacki made Halep serve to stay in the match and an error on match point handed the Dane the title, bringing a gripping final to an end.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.